By Henrietta Fung:
“Until last year (my 65th) my only exercise was occasionally walking the 20 minutes to work and once or twice a month dragging myself out for an hour’s walk.
Then something unexpected happened. I joined a Nordic walking taster at the Charlotte Keel Health Centre in Bristol where I work and to my great surprise enjoyed it. It hadn’t felt difficult – my legs hadn’t hurt and I hadn’t been out of breath – and afterwards I noticed that my sciatic pain had gone and I could bend down more easily. Other team members also noticed immediate benefits including less back and shoulder pain. All this after about 30 minutes of Nordic walking.
The benefits only lasted a few days, but I found myself wanting to do more. I started Nordic walking several times a week in all weather conditions (unheard of previously), often getting so carried away that I stayed out longer than I’d intended. My mental health is generally good, but I felt happier after Nordic walking and the sense of wellbeing stayed with me afterwards. A big fitness surprise was when I Nordic walked to work. It was 5 minutes quicker, I found it easier, and I was less out of breath which meant I could finish up more elegantly.
Nordic walking has had a profound effect on my body. People keep telling me that I’m straighter and taller, my sciatic pain has gone, my pelvic floor muscles are stronger, and I can now put my hands behind my back to do my bra strap up. As someone who has had breast cancer, I also feel that I am doing something positive to support my long-term health.
Thanks to that Nordic walking taster I have gone from a non-exerciser to Nordic walking three times a week. I have learned a new skill and have gone from being someone who never did well in school PE lessons to training as a Nordic walking instructor and supporting others to get fitter too. I really consider it my biggest achievement (amongst the many many during my lifetime) in my life.”
If you’re interested in trying Nordic walking, Let’s Walk Bristol has:
- Free Nordic walking wellness courses (starting this September) for anyone living in the Easton area of Bristol.
- Beginner workshops.
- Regular one-hour classes in Eastville Park (£2 per class).
- Nordic walking plus exercises (to take your fitness that little bit further) on Clifton Downs.